Tolls on new Mersey bridge could act as 'tax on ill health'

Warrington Guardian: What the new crossing could look like What the new crossing could look like

RESIDENTS have raised fears tolls on the new Mersey Gateway Bridge could act like a ‘tax on ill health’.

People living in Warrington will have to pay £2 each way to make the crossing to reach Halton Hospital and the Cheshire and Merseyside Treatment Centre in Runcorn in 2017.

The facility was brought into use by the Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in January 2013 as the new home for orthopaedic surgery for patients in the town leading to worries some will have to pay to cross the bridge for their operation.

Concerned resident Chris Lee, from Great Sankey, said: “Of course residents in Widnes use Halton Hospital in Runcorn and rightly complain that they will be charged for going to hospital or visiting relatives but Warrington residents are also sent to Halton and face what is effectively a tax on ill health.

“We will be subsidising the residents of Halton while suffering all the disadvantages of traffic avoiding the tolls.

“Again I have to ask just where do our councillors and MPs stand on this matter? The silence is deafening.”

Simon Wright, chief operating officer at Warrington and Halton Hospitals said he was in the process of writing to the management of the Mersey Gateway to look at avoiding charging patients who travel to and from both hospitals.

He added: “We feel it is important that these issues should be considered.

“We are pleased to see that Halton Borough Council has secured a local user discount for tolls which will also help.

“At the same time we are currently developing more services on the Halton General site - including the planned urgent care centre facility and more of our routine surgical services.”

Representatives from the Mersey Gateway project said they rejected the idea the bridge tolls were a ‘tax on ill health’ and said congested crossings across the Mersey in Halton and Warrington would have much more of an impact.

A spokesman added: “The new Mersey Gateway Bridge will significantly improve the reliability and speed of cross-river journeys for emergency service vehicles, public transport users and drivers and this will help save lives in the area.

“It will also reduce pollution, free up the road network and mean we can invest in improved public transport services to better connect key local services.

“While Government has insisted that the only way Mersey Gateway can be built is through tolls, Halton Borough Council and our partners at Merseylink have already announced details of a local residents discount scheme for Halton residents, and off-peak and travel anytime monthly passes for regular users.”

Warrington South MP David Mowat added: “My main concern is not so much that people will end up paying the toll, it’s that the majority of drivers will avoid paying the toll by travelling through Warrington instead of across the new bridge.

“This was a point I made at the original Public Inquiry and one I continue to lobby the Chancellor on.
“Just last week a cross-party group of MPs, including me, met with the Chancellor on this subject.

“Anyone who sat in one of those terrible traffic jams just before Christmas will know that our road network is getting close to its capacity. A new crossing should be taking the strain from Warrington not adding to it.

“Neither the last nor the present government could fund the bridge without a toll. The key will be to get it reduced as much as possible.”

Comments (10)

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9:39am Wed 22 Jan 14

Reader says...

£2 each way !!! That's ridiculous and I definately WONT be using the new toll bridge !!
£2 each way !!! That's ridiculous and I definately WONT be using the new toll bridge !! Reader
  • Score: 3

10:11am Wed 22 Jan 14

AppleJunkie says...

This is old news........

For a £5 one-off fee, get a special sticker to be displayed in your vehicle that will save you 10% on the standard cost of each trip, making it £1.80 for a one-way trip in a car or small van. That would take at least 25 crossings to make it worthwhile!! BIG WHOOP!

Let's face it, these tolls are only going to increase the traffic flow through Warrington.
This is old news........ For a £5 one-off fee, get a special sticker to be displayed in your vehicle that will save you 10% on the standard cost of each trip, making it £1.80 for a one-way trip in a car or small van. That would take at least 25 crossings to make it worthwhile!! BIG WHOOP! Let's face it, these tolls are only going to increase the traffic flow through Warrington. AppleJunkie
  • Score: 0

10:16am Wed 22 Jan 14

flashcoffy says...

Being unfamiliar with the site of the new bridge (I thought it was merely a tad further along than the existing bridge?) why would you need to pay the toll if travelling from South Warrington to reach Halton Hospital?
Being unfamiliar with the site of the new bridge (I thought it was merely a tad further along than the existing bridge?) why would you need to pay the toll if travelling from South Warrington to reach Halton Hospital? flashcoffy
  • Score: 0

10:54am Wed 22 Jan 14

Paul Kennedy says...

flashcoffy wrote:
Being unfamiliar with the site of the new bridge (I thought it was merely a tad further along than the existing bridge?) why would you need to pay the toll if travelling from South Warrington to reach Halton Hospital?
That is correct, you won't, you will get to Halton Hospital via the Chester Road and Daresbury Expressway. Yes the new bridge is to the east of the existing bridge, which will then also be tolled when the new crossing opens.
[quote][p][bold]flashcoffy[/bold] wrote: Being unfamiliar with the site of the new bridge (I thought it was merely a tad further along than the existing bridge?) why would you need to pay the toll if travelling from South Warrington to reach Halton Hospital?[/p][/quote]That is correct, you won't, you will get to Halton Hospital via the Chester Road and Daresbury Expressway. Yes the new bridge is to the east of the existing bridge, which will then also be tolled when the new crossing opens. Paul Kennedy
  • Score: 2

12:17pm Wed 22 Jan 14

flashcoffy says...

Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more.

All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same.

We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll.
Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more. All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same. We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll. flashcoffy
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Wed 22 Jan 14

grey_man says...

flashcoffy wrote:
Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more.

All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same.

We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll.
In other words, the traffic will go through Warrington rather than around it. Great thinking from all involved. Our local MPs and councillors need to do more than they are at the moment.
[quote][p][bold]flashcoffy[/bold] wrote: Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more. All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same. We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll.[/p][/quote]In other words, the traffic will go through Warrington rather than around it. Great thinking from all involved. Our local MPs and councillors need to do more than they are at the moment. grey_man
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Wed 22 Jan 14

WAFiver says...

flashcoffy wrote:
Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more.

All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same.

We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll.
Don't forget, from Widnes to Warrington Bridge Foot will be full of waggons, hauliers, transport companies etc will not pay to use the bridges, they will drive through Cuerdley, Penketh, Gt Sankey and Warrington, causing chaos, tailbacks and pollution.
And this is bovine excrement ..."A spokesman added: ...
“It will also reduce pollution, free up the road network and mean we can invest in improved public transport services to better connect key local services."
[quote][p][bold]flashcoffy[/bold] wrote: Looking at Google Maps (Not exactly scientific admittedly) the extra distance from Great Sankey to Halton Hospital using Daresbury Expressway rather than the Bridge is 1 mile, or 4 Minutes more. All traffic concerns are being based on forecasts which no one can really know. It MIGHT just carry on the same. We're not being forced to use the toll just the same as we are not forced to use the M6 toll.[/p][/quote]Don't forget, from Widnes to Warrington Bridge Foot will be full of waggons, hauliers, transport companies etc will not pay to use the bridges, they will drive through Cuerdley, Penketh, Gt Sankey and Warrington, causing chaos, tailbacks and pollution. And this is bovine excrement ..."A spokesman added: ... “It will also reduce pollution, free up the road network and mean we can invest in improved public transport services to better connect key local services." WAFiver
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Wed 22 Jan 14

old-codger says...

There is a free bus service for hospital patients and visitors from Warrington hospital to Halton hospital, I have used it many times, It travels up Chester road then onto the Daresbury expressway. Toll free. We need a crossing nearer to town, We have no need for a second crossing that starts in Widnes. These people are from planet Zog if they think multitudes will be willing to spend £20 per working week in order to save two miles per day, Like HS2 its a total waste of taxpayers money being spent by hidden faces at a time when people are begging for food and clothing for their children.
There is a free bus service for hospital patients and visitors from Warrington hospital to Halton hospital, I have used it many times, It travels up Chester road then onto the Daresbury expressway. Toll free. We need a crossing nearer to town, We have no need for a second crossing that starts in Widnes. These people are from planet Zog if they think multitudes will be willing to spend £20 per working week in order to save two miles per day, Like HS2 its a total waste of taxpayers money being spent by hidden faces at a time when people are begging for food and clothing for their children. old-codger
  • Score: 3

8:27am Thu 23 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

Do these people have cars that have no running costs, or is their petrol a "tax on ill health".

If you go to the local hospital bybus is your ticket a "tax on ill health"?
Do these people have cars that have no running costs, or is their petrol a "tax on ill health". If you go to the local hospital bybus is your ticket a "tax on ill health"? Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

8:54am Thu 23 Jan 14

flashcoffy says...

I really cannot see a haulage business based in Runcorn or Widnes travelling through Warrington (a detour of 15 miles = driver time on a tacograph + fuel spent + longer delivery times etc etc) to avoid the bridge toll. I would assume there would be some sort of commercial pass involved?

If not it would make more sense to travel via the motoways rather than use Warrington. Longer but certainly quicker.
I really cannot see a haulage business based in Runcorn or Widnes travelling through Warrington (a detour of 15 miles = driver time on a tacograph + fuel spent + longer delivery times etc etc) to avoid the bridge toll. I would assume there would be some sort of commercial pass involved? If not it would make more sense to travel via the motoways rather than use Warrington. Longer but certainly quicker. flashcoffy
  • Score: 0

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